Monday, July 2, 2012
Ramsey Lewis - Sun Goddess (1974)
Staying in with the theme of summer recordings, here's an album I discovered from an AM radio station on the way back from the beach. Not only does it have sun in the title, it's full of laidback grooves perfect for relaxing in the shade from the afternoon sun. Many may not be familiar with the name Ramsey Lewis, but it's doubtful that the same thing could be said about Earth, Wind & Fire. Both groups have huge ties to Chicago, which is where this album really begins. Ramsey Lewis was born in Chicago and Maurice White, founder of Earth, Wind & Fire, worked as a session player for Chess Records which was based there. Subsequently, after White's stint as a session player he moved on to be drummer of the Ramsey Lewis Trio in 1966. This album is in many ways a sort of reunion between Ramsey and White's band Earth, Wind & Fire. It also important to note how often this album is referred to as an Earth, Wind & Fire record, but with the two biggest singles from the album ("Sun Goddess" and "Hot Dawgit") being penned by White, it's not hard to see why this is a common mistake. As it compares to earlier Ramsey Lewis recordings, it's vastly different and it's not hard to see why. Lewis is much more at home doing straight-ahead acoustic jazz and this marks his foray into the world of Rhodes pianos and ARP synths.